# Careless Math Mistakes

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I have an 8 y/o second grader. He is adding three three columns of numbers in math. This week we're adding money. He takes too long to do the problems and forgets to 'carry' to the next column.

I felt sorry for him today. He did a page of problems (only 12) and he missed nine of 12. :( With three answers there was no decimal point and with the other nine he forgot to carry ones.

Would you sit with him while he is ciphering or would you give him less problems daily?

He does know his math facts; he has memorized them.

Any ideas?

Karen:)

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Personally, I do both. I will sit next to my child while they are cyphering so I can nag 'em to death. :p I also stop my child when it is apparent that he's maxed out and starting to make stupid mistakes. :eek:

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I do the same too. I watch them as they work it to make sure they know how to do it then I kinda step away. If they mess up then we immediately correct or I will give them some extra practice problems. I don't think 12 problems is too much for a 2nd grader if he understands the concept. That's just my opinion in my own experience though!

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I would sit with him and help walk him through the step by step process, again and again, until it starts to become rote for him. He is young and I think it is common, especially for boys, to tend to skip steps. I think it might just be more difficult for them to focus on detail work.

Regena

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I agree with the others. Cut his problems in half, give him 6 to work on instead of 12. Then sit with him through each step. Eventually, he will be able to successfully do these on his own.

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careless mistakes. Since your ds is doing 3 column addition with decimals, back up to 2 column addition without decimals.

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My son had this problem but it wasn't due to my faulty teaching or lack of familiarity with the procedure, he is eleven and still hasn't "grown out of it." Slopping his way through procedures of any sort (putting away the laundry, cleaning off the table, math) is part and parcel of his temperament.

Rather than have him memorize steps to the point where they become a neural reflex like playing a sport or the piano, I required him to start doing a "check" after these kinds of problems. So, if he misses long division problems then he check is to multiply the divisor and quotient and make sure that he comes up with a number that matches the dividend,

In the case of sloppy addition, he would have to subtract in order to check. This, I believe, teaches several things:

1. Inverse operations

2. You CAN find your own mistakes.

3. You take responsibility for your work, rather than mom.

4. Math is about thinking and working through problems, it's not a "problem" if you instantly know how to solve whatever is thrown out at you.

5. A math problem isn't correct because an authority arbitrarily says so, it's correct because it is so.

I have seen other posters use a carrot and stick approach: "If you solve the odd problems correctly, you do not have to do the even problems."

When they get tired of the extra work they will concentrate more.

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We have had great luck with Kumon Math, a program where the child does daily worksheets to build fluency with numbers. We are on our fourth year of it (I think that's right), and have progressed hugely so that now, in 8th grade, careless computational mistakes are largely a thing of the past!

Truly, I think the Kumon program really helped us a lot. Next week, my kids will both compete in the Math Counts competition, which is quite challenging, and that ability to do quick, accurate math comes from daily Kumon work, at least partly!

http://www.kumon.com/

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My son had this problem but it wasn't due to my faulty teaching or lack of familiarity with the procedure, he is eleven and still hasn't "grown out of it." Slopping his way through procedures of any sort (putting away the laundry, cleaning off the table, math) is part and parcel of his temperament.

I find my ds9, just is not someone who is concerned with detail. This is part of his personality. If I sat with him and looked over his shoulder for every problem, he would get very frustrated. :mad:

So I just make sure the amount of problems he has is adequate (maybe 6?) for him and then let him do the problems. If he gets them wrong, he has to correct them usually the next day. I make sure he understands the concepts and then he needs to do a few (2) problems of this type everyday until I am satisfied he knows what he is doing. In our house, giving him too many problems can cause his mind to wander and thus lack of attention to detail. If ds9 can do a few problems correctly, then we move on.

We also use Saxon which reviews daily. This allows me to assign a one or two "problem" problems until he masters it.

Paying attention to detail with work, is constant struggle in our house. We work on this all the time. I see carelessness with math just an extension of this.

HTH,

:)

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